“I Get To!”® – Freedom, Independence Require Letting Go 

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By Joan Endicott 

“I could never have imagined this level of freedom and independence two years ago, Joan! I am so grateful, happy and at peace with my life right now.” My heart swelled while my eyes welled with tears listening to my client share his emotional summary of his biggest wins and blessings from our coaching over the two years prior (6+ years now). 

When I first started coaching him in 2018, although very “successful,” he felt trapped and tethered; traveling three out of four weeks per month to at least five countries, connecting to thousands of people in his organization—too many of whom had his cell number so he felt like he was on-call 24/7. He was highly stressed mentally and emotionally, he didn’t sleep or rest near enough, he was overworked and overwhelmed. 

He so desperately wanted to change his life that he would immediately put into practice the tools and ideas that I’d share with him. Guess where I learned most of those valuable tools? Yep, HKU! Hard Knocks University. Quite sure I graduated with honors—possibly magna cum laude. 

You see, he was struggling with some of the exact challenges I had experienced years prior in letting go of 1) what others think of me, and 2) what I hoped to control for those I care about. Here’s the deal: We may not call it control, because that doesn’t sound good. In fact, it sounds downright, well…controlling. LOL! 

Personal freedom and independence lie in letting go of both! 

Freedom: the ability to act freely 

A state in which a person is able to act and live as he or she chooses, without being subject to any undue restraints or restrictions. 

Independence: Freedom from control 

Freedom from dependence on or control by another person, organization, or state. 

Remember me sharing that I’m a recovering approval addict? I confessed to having wasted too much time worried about what other people thought, being more concerned about another broken human’s opinion rather than being completely connected to my Creator’s. In addition to letting go of what other people think of you, if you want to experience personal freedom and independence, I’ve learned through HKU that you also need to let go of your expectations and desires for others—no matter how just, noble and hope-filled they are. Though we may be 100% motivated by love, nobody wants to feel that another is trying to control them—including you and me. 

But why is letting go so darned hard? Because no matter who it is, when we love someone so deeply and desperately, we want God’s best for them—and if it seems to us that they are experiencing or accepting anything less than that, it can be extremely difficult to let go. 

In the midst of some of my most agonizing letting go times in life, God gave me the gift of a perfectly timed and poignant dream that has served me and many others since. I dreamt I was running alongside a rushing river, shouting to my precious loved one, “I’m throwing the rope out. Grab the life preserver so I can help you!” 

My legs and arms were cut and bleeding from flailing through the brush and branches. Any other day I would have stopped long ago from the exhaustion but my loved one was in danger and needed me, so I pushed myself to keep going and running and yelling: “Hurry! Grab the rope so I can rescue you! You’re in danger!” 

Finally, they grabbed it! I was so relieved and kept running to keep them in sight. But wait, what were they doing? They grabbed the ring and then…looks like they’re throwing it back to me?! 

“No, no—you don’t understand. There’s danger ahead. Real danger. I’m here to help you. Please! Please grab it and hold on while I help pull you to safety.” I threw it again. They grabbed it! Great…but then, they did the same exact thing! Now painfully pleading, “What are you doing? Please grab it and let me help you. There’s a waterfall ahead; I want to save you—I love you! I’m throwing it again…please…” 

As they were disappearing down the rushing river, I heard, “I don’t want you to save me. I don’t want to be rescued.” 

It’s a heartbreaking truth that you cannot rescue someone who doesn’t want to be rescued. If you keep trying, that not only does not help them, but it can also compromise your relationship along with your health, wellness, and life purpose. I know this all too well! 

Rewind a few years. 

I’d been feeling extremely rundown, exhausted and lethargic for long enough that I knew I needed to go to a doctor. The week prior, I had gone in for the blood work and tests he recommended so today was the day we’d find out the results. I was anxious to get answers for obvious personal reasons but also, on a professional level, it takes a lot of energy to do what I do. Frankly, it’s not good advertising to even appear depressed, distressed, or dragging as a life-coach and “motivational” speaker. 

The doctor came in wearing his crisp white lab coat, name embroidered over the heart, stethoscope around his neck, holding a manila patient folder which I knew held my test results. I was so ready to hear some good news! 

After the initial greetings, I said, “Bring it on, Doc! What can I do? Can you give me a jam-packed multi-vitamin A-Z shot that will make me walk out of here a refreshed, revived, renewed woman who’s rarin’ to go?” Although laughing while saying it, I was completely serious in hoping that was a viable option. 

He began going over the results with me and most of those numbers meant nothing since I had no clue what to compare them to. Able to tell I was not getting the seriousness of my situation, he grew solemn. I can’t tell you anything else he said up to this point—but sitting directly across from me he leaned in even closer, put his hand on my crossed knee and looking me square in the eyes he said, “Joan, I need you to know you can die from this…” 

NOW he had my attention! He went on, “I know you truly believe what you write and speak about because, frankly, I’m not sure how you’re even physically functioning at the level you are with these numbers.” He pointed to a specific category on the page and said, “A healthy range for this is in the 70s, but people can get by in the 50s. Your number is 17.” 

“Are you stressed?” he asked. 

“No, I’m really not…at least I don’t think so,” I responded. His following questions were all directed around any life challenges, hurts, heartaches—a.k.a., things that feel stressful. “The most important thing you need to do, Joan, is to keep your focus on reducing all stress.” 

Are you like me—when a doctor says you’re too stressed and you need to lower it, you actually feel a power surge of stress shoot straight through you? 

Thankfully, that day opened new doors of understanding and desires to learn more about stress, what it is, what it does, how to actually reduce it. 

So the first thing I did was to put my coaching hat on to coach myself. I started with writing a list of those challenges, hurts and heartaches. Another way to ask it is, when you think about it, what causes worry, fear, unrest, or anxiousness? After writing that list out, I drew a line down the middle of a second sheet and on the top left wrote THINGS I CAN’T FIX, CHANGE OR CONTROL and on the top right, wrote THINGS I CAN FIX, CHANGE OR CONTROL. I took my first list and put each of those things in the appropriate category on the second page. (A chapter in my first book.) 

I was SHOCKED! The things that caused my greatest heartaches (stressors) were the things I had absolutely zero control over. That’s when my journey of finding freedom by declaring my personal independence began. 

That July 4th I actually wrote out my own Declaration of Independence, which I shared with the loved one I’d been trying to help rescue. I first expressed my unwavering, unconditional love and apologized to them for anything I had done that felt controlling. Next, I shared my painful path in seeking personal freedom along with what God had been teaching me. 

Then I shared what I wrote. “Today I’m declaring my independence. I will no longer carry any burden or heartache from decisions you make for your life. I will no longer feel responsible because I, in fact, am not. God’s given each of us a free will. I am responsible to God for mine and you are responsible to God for yours. I make this declaration by faith, not feeling. I know I will be fully and completely reliant on His supernatural power to accomplish this and finally be free.” 

So how am I doing with this? Ohh, I really wish I could say that was a one-n’-done declaration, my friend, but when we love others, it is a daily decision, isn’t it? 

Is it time for you to create your own Declaration of Independence that will help give you the peace, rest, ease, and personal freedom God desires for you? 

Life lessons we get to continually learn: 

  • Pray without ceasing—stay in His Word
  • Get qualified help—God didn’t intend you to do life alone
  • You can’t rescue those who don’t want to be rescued. Stop throwing the rope!
  • You are 100% responsible to God for you
  • They are 100% responsible to God for them
  • Control your controllables
  • Remember God is sovereign and loves everyone and uses everything

Friend, you cannot control what’s happening in the world. Focus on controlling what’s happening in your world. The great news is, the more completely dependent we are on God for what we can and need to control in our own lives, the more we are aware of and able to let go of what we should not try to control in the life of another. 

 

Grab your FREE copy of Joan Endicott’s “I Get To!”® book at www.JoanEndicott.com. Also, be one of the first to get her second book, “I Get To!”® Own My Worth! Joan is an award-winning keynote speaker, author and coach whose coaching has reached over 30 countries. 

 

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